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The Latin American Tower

The Torre Latinoamericana (Latin American Tower) was inaugurated the 30th of April of 1956 and still stands high in the heart of the Historic Center of Mexico City. La Latino, as it is commonly known, was the city’s tallest skyscraper of the Modern period and the icon of economic prosperity of the time. It was designed by the architect Augusto H. Álvarez and engineered by the Zeevaert Wiechers brothers. At the time, The Tower represented a mastery of structural engineering and pioneered a new type of structural system that would allow the foundation to be built in an unstable and seismic-prone area. To achieve build this foundation, the design team devised a water injection system with 361 concrete piles buried 34 meters deep into the ground; this would allow the building to remain balanced during seismic activity. For 26 years, until 1972, it remained the tallest building in the city. During the 1985 earthquake, the Latino Tower remained intact converting the building and its makers into one of the most praised objects and characters of the metropolis.

Standing in a historical district of the City, among numerous landmark buildings that fuse Classical, Art deco and Art Nouveau styles of architecture, the Torre sticks out like a sore thumb as its height and aesthetics make it a quintessential representation of the Modernist architectural typology. The observation deck on the 44th floor permits visitors to observe the entirety of Mexico City and offers remarkable 360o views of Mexico City.

The Latino Tower has been an important actor in the City’s conformation. It has been used as a set piece in various movies and in other artistic bodies of work. The famed photographer Lola Álvarez Bravo made the tower the centrepiece of her photomontage titled “Architectonic Anarchy in Mexico City” which critiques the saturation of the Mexico City skyline. Nevertheless, the tower remains an iconic part of the City, functioning today as a navigational, historical and artistic landmark.

Project name The Latin American Tower
Period 1946
Contributor Augusto H. Álvarez
Location Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas 2, Centro, 06000, CDMX
  1. Cervantes, José, De vacaciones por la vida memorias no autorizadas del pintor Pedro Friedeberg. (México, Trilce Ediciones, 2011), 15